Stay updated on advancements in mechanical components and mechatronics systems. New technologies in MEMs, fluid systems, and propulsion are driving breakthroughs in transportation, electrification, autonomous driving, and manufacturing.

Microsoft engineers have developed a new type of augmented mechanical keyboard, sensing rich and expressive motion gestures performed both on and directly above the device. A low-resolution...

Researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) have designed a new pedestrian detection system for cars that works in low-visibility conditions using infrared cameras to capture body...

The J. Lohr Structures Laboratory at South Dakota State University helps companies develop new materials and products — self-consolidating concrete columns and pre-stress concrete bridge...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Pneumatic Sample Acquisition and Transfer System

Sampling, sample handling, and sample transfer to lander platforms of in situ exploration missions involve great technical challenges. These challenges are even harder to address when the...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Brine Residual in Containment

Improvements in brine water recovery are critical to advancing NASA’s goals for human exploration of space. Water recovery systems must minimize the need for new supplies of clean water by closing the water...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Locking Orifice Retaining Nut

Fluid flow systems often require orifices to control pressure drop or flow rate. These orifices are often retained in bolted housings that require seals and introduce potential leak points into the system.

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Hybrid Mechanical Electrostatic Actuator for Deformable Mirrors

A hybrid mechanical/electrostatic force actuator has been developed for use in deformable mirror applications. Some deformable mirrors, designed to correct errors in optical systems, use electrostatic forces between the flexible mirror surface and a backplane to control the shape of...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Reconfigurable Structural Joint

This technique allows for rapid joining of reconfigurable structures. Currently, permanent structural joints are made in factory settings or in situ. However, reconfigurable structures require appropriate...

Researchers at University West in Sweden are using nanoparticles in the heat-insulating surface layer that protects aircraft engines from heat. In tests, this increased the...

It can cost hundreds of dollars and days to scan biological materials for important biomarkers that signal diseases such as diabetes or cancer using industry standard equipment. Researchers face...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Acoustic Mechanical Feedthroughs for Producing Work Across a Structure

Electromagnetic motors can have problems when operating in extreme environments. In addition, if one needs to do mechanical work outside a structure, electrical feedthroughs are required to transport the electric power to drive the motor. Piezoelectric motors can be designed...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Porous Media Jacket for Use in Regeneratively Cooled Rocket Engines

A paper describes a method for regeneratively cooling worst-case gas-phase thrusters using porous media integrated into a regenerative cooling jacket. The enhanced surface area in the jacket compensates for the much lower effective heat transfer coefficients of gases as compared...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Smart Core-Bit Probe (SCOPe)

Smart Core-Bit Probe (SCOPe) employs ruggedized MEMS-based sensors for real-time monitoring of sample core integrity (compositional or morphological changes) and drill health during sample acquisition. SCOPe...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Electrically Conductive, Failure-Resistant Tethers

Special electrically conductive, failure-resistant rope/wire combinations are being developed for use as electrodynamic spacecraft tethers. These or similar combinations could also prove...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
ATHLETE Low-Gravity Testbed

A six-degrees-of-freedom (DOF) testbed was developed for evaluating microgravity and low-gravity proximity and contact operations, e.g. in the vicinity of a near Earth orbit, for simulation of proximity operations for a human mission to an asteroid. This is accomplished using an “inverted Stewart platform” where...

News: Robotics, Automation & Control
Driving Simulator Helps Engineers Calculate Human Factor

Simulations are an important development tool in the automobile and utility vehicle. The properties of vehicle components, such as how they respond in an accident, their reliability,...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Metabolic Heat Regenerated Temperature Swing Adsorption

Two fundamental problems facing the development of a portable system to sustain life on extraterrestrial surfaces are (1) heat rejection and (2) rejection of metabolically produced CO2 to an environment with a ppCO2 of 0.4 to 0.9 kPa as is present on Mars. Portable...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Re-entry Vehicle Shape for Enhanced Performance

A vehicle entering the atmosphere of a planet will do so at hypersonic speeds and will need to decelerate and maneuver through that atmosphere while protecting its payload from excessive heating. As a consequence, the vehicle shape must be designed to provide optimal aerodynamic lift and drag...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
CubeSat Deployable Log Periodic Dipole Array

The antenna is composed of two main deployable structural components that help it achieve the large packing factor necessary to fit within the small volume of the CubeSat. The primary component of...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Protective Sleeve for a Pyrotechnic Reefing Line

A metallic sleeve provides protection and guidance for the actuating lanyard pull of a parachute system reefing line cutter. This device ensures that the reefing line cutter is not damaged...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Origami-Inspired Folding of Thick, Rigid Panels

To achieve power of 250 kW or greater, a large compression ratio of stowed-to-deployed area is needed. Origami folding patterns were used to inspire the folding of a solar array to achieve...

NASA’s Constellation Architecture Team defined an outpost scenario optimized for intensive mobility that uses small, highly mobile pressurized rovers supported by portable habitat...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Brushless Motors for In-Tank Fuel Pumps

Most automotive fuel systems use a Fuel Delivery Module (FDM) with components to filter and pump gasoline at a specified pressure and flow rate from the fuel tank to the engine. The FDM uses a...

The LVDT linear position sensor can operate successfully over a wide range of temperatures, depending upon its design and the application in which it is operating. While...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Electric Machine With Boosted Inductance to Stabilize Current Control

High-powered motors typically have very low resistance and inductance (R and L) in their windings. This makes the pulse-width modulated (PWM) control of the current very difficult, especially when the bus voltage (V) is high. These R and L values are dictated by the motor...

Briefs: Mechanical & Fluid Systems
Positive-Buoyancy Rover for Under Ice Mobility

A buoyant rover has been developed to traverse the underside of ice-covered lakes and seas. The rover operates at the ice/water interface and permits direct observation and measurement of...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
International Space Station- Based Electromagnetic Launcher for Space Science Payloads

A method was developed of lowering the cost of planetary exploration missions by using an electromagnetic propulsion/launcher, rather than a chemical-fueled rocket for propulsion. An electromagnetic launcher (EML) based at the International Space Station (ISS)...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
A Kinematic Calibration Process for Flight Robotic Arms

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) robotic arm is ten times more massive than any Mars robotic arm before it, yet with similar accuracy and repeatability positioning requirements. In order to assess and validate these requirements, a higher-fidelity model and calibration processes were...

Briefs: Robotics, Automation & Control
Magnetostrictive Alternator

This innovation replaces the linear alternator presently used in Stirling engines with a continuous-gradient, impedance-matched, oscillating magnetostrictive transducer that eliminates all moving parts via compression, maintains high efficiency, costs less to manufacture, reduces mass, and eliminates the need for a...

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Zinc Die Casting Concepts to Achieve Precision, Performance, and...

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Designing with Silicone for Space

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